Hire Agreement Contract - Overview for Hirers
With spring just around the corner you may be starting to think about new garden or DIY projects. For some projects you might need specialist equipment that you don't own. Most areas in the UK have local hire center that stock a great array of power tools, garden equipment and the like so hiring what you need is an option. When you hire equipment you will be given a hire agreement contract to sign but how many of us actually read the terms and conditions? Hiring equipment is much cheaper than buying the equipment (depending on how long you want the equipment for) but if you breach any of the terms in the hire agreement contract, you could end up substantially out of pocket if you haven't got adequate insurance cover. Here we highlight some of the legal obligations of hiring equipment and a couple of things to watch out for.
Use of the equipment
You should always read any relevant operating and safety instructions supplied with the equipment before you use it and use the equipment in a skillful and proper manner and not for any purpose beyond its capacity.
Generally only you can use the equipment as a term in the hire agreement contract prevents you from allowing anyone else to use it without the owner's express permission. Generally it is forbidden to use the equipment outside the UK without the permission of the owner.
Check the equipment
You should always check the equipment at the start of the hire period to make sure it is in proper working order otherwise you may be blamed – and charged - for the fault. If this is not possible in the hire shop you should make a check as soon as you take the equipment home and report any faults within 24 hours.
The hire shop is obliged to replace any defective equipment when you take it back and you should not be charged for the first 24 hours. If the hire shop delivered the equipment, the shop should collect the defective equipment.
Every hire agreement contract states that you should have adequate insurance to cover all liabilities set out in hire agreement contract. You are responsible for the equipment, whether it's in transit or in your home or on another site, and you must keep the equipment properly maintained and repaired and ensure its security and safekeeping.
Normally you will have to take out hired equipment insurance to cover your legal liability to pay for loss or damage to the equipment.
Hired equipment insurance covers legal costs too because you are liable to pay solicitors' fees and court costs involved on behalf of the owner in having to take any legal action to recover either the equipment, the value of the equipment or repair costs as a result of you failing to comply with the terms and conditions in the hire agreement contract.
‘New for old' clause in hire agreement contract
You should be aware that if any loss or damage to the equipment occurs because you failed to look after it, you will be liable to pay the owner the cost of the equipment on a ‘new for old' basis according to the current list price.
If the equipment breaks down you must immediately inform the owner. You must also inform the owner of any problem affecting the working of the equipment and return the equipment as soon as possible to allow the owner to repair or exchange it.
You should not be charged for the hire of the equipment during the period that it is not in working order. The owner is entitled to replace the equipment with equipment of a similar type where the equipment has broken down and is not immediately repairable. If no replacement equipment is immediately available or where the replacement equipment is not satisfactory, you should be entitled to terminate the hire agreement contract and claim for a refund for the period during which the equipment was out of order.
You must also inform the owner immediately of any loss, theft or damage to the equipment. You will be charged for the hire of the equipment until the owner is notified that you are no longer able to use it.
Return the equipment in same condition
You must return the equipment in the same condition as when it was supplied to you, reasonable wear and tear excepted. The owner is entitled to charge for the cleaning and/or restoration of any equipment not returned in a good and proper condition.
Use of your personal data
If you are supplying personal data such as you name, address, email, phone number or payment details then the equipment owner should also be explaining to you why they need your data and how they will use it. It's pretty obvious why your name and contact details are required, but you should still be told. If the owner of the equipment wants to add you to a marketing database or share your details with 3rd parties for marketing purposes they you should be given a clear choice and asked to opt-in.